Summary: Uchiha Itachi, a rich, pretty, seventeen-year-old boy, meets the girl on the streets by pure chance. AH. OOC.

What you can expect from this story: Teenagers blundering in the dark. The story is divided into two parts, with 10 chapters that constitute the first of it. It follows Itachi's journey primarily.

Pairing: ItaSaku, NaruSasu.

WARNINGS: Mentions of suicide and abuse. This story is not dark dark, but it is intense and serious. A smattering of smut. Deals with some controversial topics of today. However, not everything is so bleak, I promise. :)


CHAPTER 1

Itachi is standing on the curb, waiting for Kakashi to pull the car around. He takes out his phone from the front pocket of his school pants to check the time, before remembering that he's wearing the watch his parents gifted him just one month back – his seventeenth birthday present. But since he's already pulled out his phone, he decides to check the messages. The time blinks to 7.12 PM.

His group chat is exploding with texts. Even as he reads the latest message from Kisame, Konan has replied, and then it's Yahiko, then Kisame again, and the text alert box keeps vibrating and popping, as though giving birth to more textboxes through the process of mitosis.

Below, there are texts from Izumi. He opens them.

You must be in piano class, but can we talk after you get done?

It's important.

Don't ignore me.

Itachi, it's 7! I know your class is over. Text me back.

Itachi groans loudly, just as Kakashi honks the car. Swiping right on his phone, he manoeuvres into the backseat, shuts the door, and tells Kakashi to play Fur Elise on the speakers already.

Just saw your text. What's up?

The reply is instant.

Don't believe the rumours. Please. I swear nothing happened.

Feeling heavily confused, Itachi finally pays attention to his exploding group chat when the next banner alert is Nagato's he should break up.

There are 54 freaking messages on the group. Itachi mentally prepares himself – he's exhausted – and clicks on the group name The Chamber of Secrets. It was Nagato's idea. He's the Harry Potter of the lot but loves to respond to the name Lord Voldemort. Nice kid.

The app blinks to the very first message since Itachi was last on the group, like an ever efficient Dobby. The sad part is that Nagato got everyone hooked on the series, and now they keep referring themselves with the insane variety of character names available at their disposal.

No, they are not Harry Potter nerds, thank you very much. That's only Nagato. The others are his Lucius Malfoys – the ones who kinda sorta want to get out but it's too late now because your wand is gone and your son is having a moral crisis, and your wife doesn't deserve a piece of shit like you.

Itachi goes through the gist because Dobby has the weirdest way – and the longest freaking way in the history of ways – to get to the point already, Jesus. But essentially, Kisame found out that Izumi screwed a guy over the weekend. Izumi, his girlfriend. The same Izumi who texted him I swear nothing happened.

Now, here's the thing: Itachi has been friends with this lot, his other Lucius Malfoys, for a long time. In fact, he grew up with them. Kisame, Nagato, Konan, Yahiko, and Zetsu. They became friends when they were practically in diapers. Izumi entered the picture when Itachi hit puberty, and their school became the breeding grounds for the homo sapiens sapiens.

Itachi is under no delusion. He knows that Izumi became his friend with ulterior motives. The thing is, he can't blame her. That's just the way everyone is. It's just the way things are. You become sexually attracted to a person, and you put everything you've got to get them laid. With Izumi, she succeeded.

Uchiha Itachi is a pretty boy and he knows it.

Izumi screwing another guy while being his girlfriend … he thinks that maybe it should, at the very least, bruise his ego. Because whoever that other idiot is, he is definitely not better than Itachi. And if Izumi thought it was a wonderful idea to screw him, more power to her. Itachi knows that she'll come crawling back to him, anyway.

He adds his own two thoughts to the group. Forget it. Doesn't matter.

Kisame: LOL.

Yahiko: Are you sure?

Nagato: You should break up with her.

Konan: Why should he? It's not like Itachi is heartbroken or anything.

Kisame: He definitely isn't.

Nagato: She cheated.

Zetsu: You guys are jobless. It's not a big deal. She fucked someone. Get over it.

Moreover, Izumi has already kinda sorta come back. So Itachi doesn't care.

Itachi: Listen to Zets. Zets is Zen.

Zetsu: Fuck off, Weasel. But yes. Listen to me.

Itachi clicks back from the group chat and opens Izumi's.

Are you there?

I can see you online.

Are you mad? Nothing happened! I swear.

Itachi types back: Cool. See you tomorrow at school.

I knew you'd believe me! I'll miss you tonight. See ya! Ily xxx

You better.

And Itachi locks the phone, rests his head back on the plush cushion of the seat, shuts his eyes, and sighs as Swan Lake now belts through the speakers.


Sasuke is sitting on Itachi's bed later that night, after their family dinner. It's his routine. Sasuke still can't sleep if he doesn't spend some time with Itachi before bed. He hasn't been able to shake off the habit even today. Itachi and Sasuke shared a bedroom until they both turned twelve, and then their parents decided that puberty requires privacy – even for fraternal twin boys.

Itachi ignores the fraternal twin part of it, because Sasuke was born ten minutes after him, and is, and always will be his baby brother.

So he listens to Sasuke rant about his karate lesson of that day, and how – again – Namikaze Naruto picked a fight with him and how much Sasuke would love to punch his face in for real.

The Namikaze kid attends the same school as them, for that matter, but Sasuke has the misfortune of tolerating him even out of school during his karate class. Itachi doesn't hate the kid, he really doesn't. Itachi just doesn't give a shit about him. The Namikaze kid got in through a scholarship when they entered their high school years, in his cheap quality of uniform, scarred cheeks, a short-fuse. He was the Weasley of their Lucius Malfoys.

Sasuke, on the other hand, is Draco Malfoy, so to speak. He loves to fight with the kid every chance that he gets, and then complains about the whole event. And as a dedicated Lucius Malfoy, Itachi listens to him and then reminds him to focus on studying and not blonde, blue-eyed little demons.

This has been Itachi's entire life in a nutshell. He was born to wealthy parents, attends a school for the wealthy kids, has a twin baby brother, and his group of five childhood friends. He's always lived in the cream layer of the elite, and he loves it. The money, the power, the status, all of it. And it's not as though he's a useless piece of shit, either. Itachi knows that he's smart – everyone in their school is, you have to be smart because the competition around you is so feverish, it runs you dry – and he's been taking piano and dance lessons since he was four. He comes from a good genetic pool, too. He has Kakashi, the same way Sasuke has Kimimaro.

So who cares if his girlfriend cheated on him with some moron? He's Uchiha Itachi.


And then all goes to shit on one bleak Tuesday evening, after his dance lesson.

Itachi is on the curb, waiting for Kakashi to pull the car around. He's still sweaty in his comfortable pants and a loose T-shirt. The dance instructor, Utakata, made him hang back for two minutes because he wants Itachi to enrol in the upcoming competition, and by the time that conversation is over, all the showers were hogged and Itachi refuses to use the space after the others are done with it. He really would much rather stew in his own sweat through an entire car ride home and then soak in his bath for an inordinate amount of time to compensate for the utter shittiness of the whole thing.

Maybe play some Clair de Lune in the background, as well.

He has his phone in his hands, scrolling through his social media feed when it's suddenly snatched away by force. Itachi yelps with shock, spinning on his heels to follow the thief, even before it registers in his mind that he can just buy another stupid phone on his way home.

But now he's staring at the thief's back as it begins to disappear through the pedestrian crowd, and Itachi has seen enough movies to know that he can do this –

"Thief!" he calls out loudly, pointing at said man. "Catch him! He's stolen my phone!"

There's a ruckus, and someone down the street, invisible to him because the thief has squeezed himself through moving bodies, a female hand rises in the air, calling Itachi towards it like a beacon.

He pushes his way to find a young girl, around the same age as him, clutching at his phone as though she's never held one in her life. To be honest, Itachi thinks that that's probably true.

The girl is wearing a worn out, old, heavily tattered pair of pants and a T-shirt. Her hair is the strangest colour of soft pink, greasy and matted and dirty. There are muddy stains on her cheeks and hands, and Itachi is sure that he's going to catch some disease from this homeless girl. Even her footwear is almost ripped in two.

As Itachi nears her, a passing car's headlights hit her face. The paleness of her skin under all that grime shines brighter than ever and her eyes are thrown in stark relief. They're green, apple green to be precise, and they're hard and flat and burning all at the same time. Itachi has never known before that eyes could be so … passionate. If Sasuke were to be here, he would have requested to paint them.

But Itachi is not Sasuke. He is Itachi, and his worry over catching a disease overpowers the alluring eyes of the homeless.

"This yours?" she calls out when he's two feet away, extending the phone towards him.

"Yes," he replies and opens his right palm for her.

She drops the phone on it. "You should be more careful. That thing must be costing thousands."

Itachi eyes her wearily. "I know. It doesn't matter."

One pink eyebrow raises in mock. "Right, Pretty Boy. My bad. Maybe I should have kept it, in that case."

Itachi narrows his eyes at the tone. "If you're expecting me to thank you, then that attitude will not take you anywhere."

The girl suddenly throws her head back and laughs loudly. "Why, Your Majesty, should I kneel and ask for forgiveness?"

He isn't liking this one bit. "Who am I to stop you? Go ahead. I might throw in some money, too."

Her amusement is wiped off in an instant. Her eyes harden and they're burning trees in melting snow. She's furious. Itachi gulps lightly. He is no good if she hits him. He's horrible in fights. He has Sasuke for such things.

But her sassiness is rubbing him off in such a wrong way that he just can't hold it back. The way she called him Pretty Boy is nothing like what he's used to. She made it sound like a liability and not the asset that it is. As though, being pretty is his weakness for some reason.

"Fuck off," she snarls. "I don't want your stinking money. I could have easily not given you the phone, you know."

"As I said, that attitude will not take you anywhere."

Now she's laughing incredulously in his face. "Wow. You're one piece of shit. I should have let that guy get away. He could have had some decent dinners out of it."

"Of course, you'd think like your fellow peers," Itachi says snidely. "Is that what you do, too? Steal things to earn money?"

She smiles sarcastically. "Yep. You have me all figured out. Have a good night, Pretty Boy."

She turns around and leaves, disappearing through the crowd. Itachi puts the whole encounter out of his head the moment he sinks into his bathtub later that evening.


When Itachi sees the girl two weeks later in his school parking lot, he stomps right up to her to snarl in her face.

"Are you following me now?"

The girl is wearing a dirty black coat today over her clothes. The shoes are the same, now in worse condition. Her hair is tied up in a high ponytail, and she's glaring at him with the same fire.

"You wish," she says with a scowl.

The students around him are shooting him odd looks because what is Uchiha Itachi doing, speaking with a homeless girl?

"So what? You happen to find my school?" he demands, crossing his hands over his chest.

"If you must know, you asshole, your cafeteria gives out free leftover food. I've been coming here for weeks now."

Sasuke joins him, clapping him on his back, frowning at the girl. "What's going on?"

"Nothing," Itachi says smoothly. "School doing charity work."

"Why are you … talking with … charity, then?"

The girl glares even harder, and Itachi isn't worried this time, because Sasuke is here and Sasuke is the one who takes karate classes. Besides, this is Itachi's territory, so to speak. He's sure that the girl won't pull off anything stupid right in his school parking lot with all the students present.

"You guys have heads bigger than your expensive cars," she comments snarkily. "Don't you have anything better to do than stand here and mock me?"

Itachi glowers. "Whatever. Eat your leftover food. That's the best you can do."

She looks ready to hit him now. In fact, she even cocks her fist back but Sasuke is already taking a step forward in defence and a third hand shoots out of the air to hold her arm back.

It's the Namikaze kid, staring between the three of them, and coming to a stand beside the girl.

"I'm Naruto," he tells her kindly. "I wouldn't suggest doing that. It won't end well for you."

The girl lowers her fist. "Who are you? Their bodyguard?"

Sasuke snorts at the idea. "As if."

Naruto ignores him. "No. But I've been in this school for a while now. These are all kids who love to peck their parents, their rich parents who can crush you in an instant. They'll disallow you to ever enter the grounds again."

"Yeah?" the girl challenges. "And your parents won't?"

Naruto grins. "Nope. They own a bookstore. Hardly worth millions."

The girl stares at him for a few moments. "I'd say it is."

"If you're done bonding over your lack of money," Itachi says dryly, "may I suggest that you take this party someplace else? Maybe the Namikaze will join you for dinner."

"Maybe I will," Naruto retorts, then turns to the girl again. "What's your name? I honestly don't mind joining you, if you want some company."

The girl smiles at him. "I'm Sakura."

Itachi and Sasuke watch them approach the grounds, now speaking freely, and the last of the students parting like the Red Sea for the pair. Sasuke immediately questions him on the matter and Itachi tells him the incident when the girl got the phone back from the thief.

"And you didn't thank her?" Sasuke asks with disbelief. "I thought she was troubling you or something."

"You should have heard her," Itachi insists.

"She got your phone back, man," Sasuke shakes his head and they start making their way to where Kakashi and Kimimaro are waiting with their respective cars. "Anyway, I'll see you at home."

"You're my guardian, you know," Itachi reminds Kakashi as soon as he settles in the backseat. "Shouldn't you have come running earlier there?"

Kakashi throws him a flat look through the rear-view mirror. "What? You mean, come save you from a kid?"

"Save me from potential harm," Itachi corrects him.

"From a kid?"

"You don't know her," Itachi says wisely. "She definitely would have hit me."

"Then don't do anything to warrant a hit," Kakashi advises him.

"You're a shitty guardian. Play some flute today. I feel flute."

"Roger that, Sir," and Le Merle Noir drifts through the speakers.


Now that the girl has made him aware that she's been coming after his school hours for weeks, Itachi finds himself searching through the crowd, almost absently, to see if she'll get her dinner that day or not.

He doesn't care, per se. But he can't ignore it, either. It's a newfound established fact of his life – that Sakura visits his school for the leftover cafeteria food – and he is aware of it.

The worst is that he has begun to notice that little chart the cafeteria puts up behind their money counter. It has the school name and logo, and below it reads –

Date: _

Leftover food: _ kg

Fed _ no. of people

Itachi had never bothered seeing that before in his life. Now he wonders whether the 34 people who were fed the previous day includes the girl or not.

Over the course of the week, he sees the girl thrice. And all three times, the Namikaze kid approaches her as though they're friends now. Birds of same feathers, flock together, he reminds himself and dismisses the pair, only to search the next day for her presence.

The thing is, Itachi is used to having girls who admire him, who want to be in his company. They don't snarl in his face wearing tattered clothes. Even Konan, his childhood friend, has hit on him a few times out of jest. That's why he finds this rather … strange of a behaviour. The girl is actually laughing with the Namikaze kid but hates Itachi's guts.

So when Izumi hangs by his arm every day in the school parking lot, before she leaves with her own driver, Itachi finds himself snogging the lights out of her. Let the world see that Uchiha Itachi is desired and can have any girl he wants because he's rich, pretty, and smart. And these traits are assets, not liabilities.

One day, when he has Izumi pinned against her car, someone clears their throat in the vicinity. Itachi kisses with more fervour before pulling back, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

It's Kisame and Nagato, both wearing highly amused expressions.

"What?"

"If you can stop sucking her face," Kisame grins sharply, "we have to plan the weekend."

Izumi hooks her elbow with Itachi's. "Let's go for a road trip!"

Nagato eyes her wearily. "Yeah, I don't think so."

"We can go check out my uncle's new club? He's been inviting us over for so long now," Itachi suggests.

"That's much better," Nagato concedes. "What about Sasuke and his little gang?"

Sasuke has only two friends: Hyuuga Hinata and Hozuki Suigetsu, both of whom are poles apart from each other. Hinata is the epitome of a well-mannered, rich doll while Suigetsu could be mistaken for Kisame's brother with the crude language and incessant need to have drunken sex. Itachi and Sasuke's social circles are different for a reason. Itachi can only handle one Kisame at a time, and Sasuke has no interest in any of Itachi's Chamber of Secrets' Lucius Malfoys.

"I'll ask him," Itachi promises them. "Although, I highly doubt he'd want to come. He still doesn't let me forget when Yahiko tried to kiss him."

"Your brother needs to get laid," Kisame rolls his eyes. "If he keeps hanging out with the likes of the Hyuuga chick, though, that's never going to happen. That girl gives me self-esteem issues."

All the students love to hate Hinata simply because she has this beauty to her that no amount of plastic surgery, make-up, or "keeping it real" will ever compare to it. Itachi has this inkling that she's friends with Sasuke only because he's gay, and therefore, will never be interested in her romantically.

"Suigetsu is very cute," Izumi adds in. "I think everyone just backs off because they assume Sasuke is dating him."

"If Sasuke ever dates anyone, it definitely won't be Suigetsu," Itachi says firmly.

"You don't want it to be Suigetsu," Nagato says. "I doubt you'd ever want him to date anyone."

"Whatever. I'll ask him about the club, but chances are that he's going to refuse."

Kisame and Nagato leave soon after; Itachi makes out some more with Izumi before sending her on her own way. He's searching for Kakashi and Sasuke in the crowd when he sees the girl – Sakura – entering the grounds, followed by three boys that Itachi has never seen her talking to before. She only really talks with the Namikaze kid, who, by the way, is nowhere to be seen.

Itachi frowns and searches for a bit for the blonde kid. He was in class today. Maybe he left early for whatever reason. Without really thinking through it, Itachi makes his way carefully in the direction that he's seen the kids go.

When he turns a corner, he pauses in surprise at the scene before him. One of the people is holding up Sakura by her armpits, and the other two are trying not to let her struggling legs kick them accidentally. She's not screaming, but she's furious, and she doesn't stand still even for a second.

Itachi quickly ducks around the wall and pulls out his phone. Sasuke answers immediately.

"Where are you?" Sasuke asks as greeting. "I just came out."

"Sasuke, come to the grounds," Itachi says hurriedly. "I need help."

"What?" Sasuke says, startled. "Wait. I'm coming right away."

Itachi stays hidden until Sasuke reaches him.

"What happened?"

Itachi jabs his thumb over his shoulder. "Look there."

Sasuke peeks. "Oh shit. We should call someone."

"I called you."

Sasuke stares at Itachi for a bit, and then he's hurrying towards the group without another word. Itachi mutely follows. When the boys notice the two brothers approach them, they stop trying to get near Sakura – mostly in surprise, but the girl is still struggling away.

"What the hell are you doing?" Sasuke snaps at them. "Leave her be!"

"This bitch needs to know her place," one of them says coolly. "You guys want in?"

Sasuke looks nearly beside himself with rage. "I'll call someone over if you don't run right now."

"What's the matter, Uchiha?" the boy holding her smirks. "You got sick of dicks?"

"Watch your mouth," Itachi says dangerously. "If you know what's good for you, I suggest leaving the girl alone and walking away. Or else, we can do this the hard way. You keep this stupidity and frankly, unnecessary charade up and your family will join the girl on the streets before the sun rises tomorrow. And if you ever say anything to Sasuke again, I won't think twice next time."

There's a moment of silence. Eventually, the boys exchange a look, come to an unspoken decision that this is just not worth it anymore, and leave them alone.

The girl fidgets with her fingers, unable to look at them. To be honest, Itachi finds it difficult to do the same.

"Thank you," she finally says. "I mean, I could have taken them down if there were only two of them. But. Well. Anyway. Thanks."

"You got his phone back," Sasuke says nicely. "Don't worry about it."

"Okay," she shrugs, fidgets some more, stares at the ground. "Is Naruto not here today?"

Itachi frowns. "Must have left early."

"Right. I'll go, then."

She walks away from them with her shoulders slumped, and Itachi realises that he doesn't like it. She's the girl with eyes of green fire.

But he gets over it by the time his head hits the pillow later that night.


Only to wonder what the girl must be doing for weekends when the school is shut, while he eats his own lunch on Saturday.


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